Kristian Blummenfelt - Foto: Martin Hafsahl, Olympiatoppen
The tantalizing possibility of witnessing a showdown between the men's Olympic champions since 2008 has taken a significant step closer to reality, as Kristian Blummenfelt has confirmed his intention to compete at the PTO's European Open in Ibiza just one month from now. Blummenfelt, the reigning Olympic champion from Norway who claimed gold in Tokyo in 2021, has been dominating the middle and long-distance races in recent times. He emerged victorious at the rescheduled IRONMAN World Championship in St. George and followed it up with a win at the 70.3 Worlds at the same venue. However, Blummenfelt's focus has now shifted back to short-course racing as he gears up to defend his crown at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.
Jan Frodeno, the esteemed long-distance triathlete and 2008 Olympic champion, has confirmed his intention to compete at the PTO's European Open in Ibiza. Frodeno, who boasts an impressive track record with three Kona crowns and two 70.3 world titles to his name, had to withdraw from his planned comeback at 70.3 Oceanside due to a virus. This race in Ibiza will mark Frodeno's first appearance on a start line since Challenge Roth in July of the previous year. Widely regarded as one of the top contenders, Frodeno is expected to be a top pick for the PTO's wildcard selections.
Another Olympic triathlon champion who is likely to grace the race in Ibiza is Alistair Brownlee. Having secured victory at London 2012 and Rio in 2016, Brownlee is a well-known advocate of the PTO and has been a vocal supporter of its races, which aim to pit the best against the best. Despite having to withdraw from his planned return at IRONMAN South Africa, Brownlee is expected to be a strong candidate for a wildcard spot, as highlighted by John Levison's analysis of the race's lineup. The prospect of Frodeno and Brownlee, both Olympic champions, competing against each other in Ibiza is certainly an exciting one for triathlon enthusiasts.
Next week, the PTO will unveil the list of 26 men who have qualified for an automatic spot in the upcoming race, along with the four wildcards who will join them. Triathlon fans around the world eagerly anticipate this announcement, as it will determine the final roster of elite athletes who will compete in the highly anticipated event. The suspense is building as the countdown begins to discover which athletes have secured their spots through qualification and who will be granted the coveted wildcards by the PTO. Excitement levels are running high as the anticipation grows for the official reveal of the final lineup for the race.